Category Archives: Event

Charity Beer Tasting Event Supporting the Leavenworth Carnegie Arts Center

Friday, the 23rd of September 2011, I attended a charity event support the Leavenworth Carnegie Arts Center. I have a long reaching history with the Carnegie, and am always pleased to be able to continue that relationship. My mother was one of the original executive directors of the original incarnation, the “Leavenworth Area Arts Council”, back before they acquired the old Carnegie Library. I grew up as much at the Arts Center as I did in my own house, taking classes, volunteering, or just simply being there. It was sort of a second house for me, and my sister even got married there. I attended an art opening last week, something I will sporadically do to show my support for local artists and the idea of local arts education in general, and was intrigued by a pamphlet I saw for a beer tasting event. Now, I do like to drink a fine beer, and if I can try out several while supporting the fine arts, well, that’s even better. So off I went with the folks to meet up with some friends and drink some booze for a good cause.

The beer tasting was hosted by downtown private club and catering service J.W. Crancer’s located in a finely renovated space that used to be a rambling antique/junk store. It’s one of my favorite buildings downtown, that I think was originally a department store back when Leavenworth was a thriving “out West” city.

There was a long spread of beer to be had, most of it supplied by Lansing Liquor & Wine, which has the best selection of import beer in the area. It’s where I generally go to purchase my imports, though I have a soft spot in my heart for Gould’s, a family run business in my own neighborhood. There was lots to sample, and I got to try many different flavors and brands.

I met up with Carolyn Singleton, the current executive director of the Carnegie Arts Center, and got her to take a picture with me. The light in the place was playing hell with the iPhone’s camera, and this was one reason why I finally replaced my stolen digital camera this weekend. But I didn’t have it yet, so I apologize for the grainier than usual pictures, even for RA.

Lansing Liquor wasn’t the only beer provider there. Local restaurant and microbrewery High Noon Saloon had a corner where they were promoting their own recipes. I don’t care much for most microbrews, though their “Oregon Trail Raspberry Wheat” struck my fancy this evening. I’ve been on a bit of a raspberry kick kick recently, so it all worked out. The gentleman running the High Noon sampler area told me that Anhauser-Busch has picked up their signature “Annie’s Amber Ale”, so it should be getting wide distribution soon. I didn’t fancy it myself, I’m more of a brown kind of guy, but it wasn’t bad.

I love catered events. I could probably exist on spinach dip and crackers, and those little meat slices folded over with a toothpick stuck through them, along with the gallons of punch that doesn’t seem to taste as nice in any other setting… But anyway, a large part of the night was socializing with folks, all friends of the Arts Center and local artists themselves.

There were door prizes, but I didn’t win anything. Whenever I do win stuff at raffles and doors it’s always fairly weird items anyway. Here’s Carolyn handing out the first prize, which I think was a bicycle helmet of all things.

When I want loot I don’t leave it to chance. Here I am posing with the commemorative beer mug that I purchased with a donation to the Arts Center. The mugs were made by a local artist whose name unfortunately escapes me at the moment.

And last but not least, my worthy parents:

A finer two people you’d be hard pressed to find!

Just so I don’t leave anything out, here is a picture I took of the flyer with the acknowledgments:

I recommend the cookies from Sis’ Sweets!

I haven’t been doing enough cultural activity blogs lately, but it’s been a busy weekend for me (and one that’s not over) so that will change for this week. Yesterday I went to the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival, and later this afternoon I’m going to a poetry reading at the 8th Street Taproom in Lawrence, two more things that I will update RA with soon. Sooooo many pictures from the Japan Festival to go through and edit…


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Filed under Event, Right Living

Fall Recruits 2011

This weekend was the Lee’s Summit H.S. wargame club’s fall convention. I went to the Spring Recruits 2010 convention last year, and wrote about it here. I missed the last two Recruits conventions for various reasons, but was happy to make it out there Saturday with two friends. I ran into another person from my 40k RPG group, and got to talk with a few of the demo people and vendors throughout the day. It was a good time. I took less pictures this time, but there was some really neat stuff going down that I thought I would share today.

The first cool thing I saw was the huge tall sailing ship era game going on. The game was scaled 28mm, and the ships were manly and large. The demo personnel were easily recognizable, as they were all in pirate costumes.

Just look at that table. Look at it, and wonder. Look. At. It. Is it not nifty?

We talked with a couple of the demo guys, including the main person responsible for writing the rules, and it turns out they are from Arkansas and dreamed all of this up just to have some fun. And it definitely looked like fun. And the puns… oh god, the puns

So the blog they have is called… Fist Full of Seamen… and you can find out more information about them and their game there. They were pretty cool guys, and there is a good chance that my main gaming group will end up with a big ship of our own to play with them when they come next time. My two friends were really into the idea of this, though we did talk about smaller models. I mean, I can’t think of where we would play at the 28mm scale, or how I would even store the models…

Last time I went to Recruits I took a lot more pictures of games, many of them 40k things. I’ve got plenty of my own 40k things on RA now, so I was mainly interested in the well displayed and interestingly themed games. These gentlemen were playing some kind of 28mm French colonial themed game, I think. I thought the sticks for big tree trunks was an inspired idea to have a realistically sized forest area, and the little cotton puffs for gun smoke was cool too. I didn’t talk to anybody at this table, so I’m not sure what rule set they were using.

This table caught my attention because they had an Imperial Star Destroyer and a data sheet for a Colonial Battlestar. It immediately made me think of VGA Planets, a turn based space conquering strategy game whose races were thinly disguised factions from popular sci-fi franchises. Anyway, it looked cool.

The owner of my FLGS is involved with Creative Gamescapes, a Kansas City company that creates this 3D modular space ship interior terrain. There was a table that put the terrain to good use, building the sets on square bases that could be arranged to form different set-ups. This is essentially what I have in mind for my long term 40k space ship terrain, only I’m after something a bit more dedicated than, say, a randomizable Space Hulk. This is nicely done, and I hope to have something as useful and well planned some day.

The green pool of industrial waste is wicked neat.

The pieces can be used for out of doors terrain as well.

I am totally going to end up having a train set someday, I can feel it.

This is a 28mm scale medieval type town that I thought was really cool. I am planning a 15mm castle along these lines at some point. Actually I missed out on an opportunity to get some really cool 15mm terrain for a steal of a bargain at this convention. I looked at it, wandered away to think about it, came back to look again, then made up my mind to buy it right as a sale to someone else was being completed. Doh! But that’s neither here nor there.

The table was all by itself when I walked by and looked at it, so I have no idea what game was being played on it.

The town had a little farm just outside of it, with some nice little Holstein cows grazing in the pasture. That’s nice.

I have seen this game at the FLGS, but have no idea what exactly it is. I’m guessing it’s a home brewed system like the pirates game. The player boards are really nice, and those are actual bullet casings being used as ammo markers.

There was nobody around but a younger teen who was poking aimlessly at one of the models, so I didn’t have anybody to ask about the game. It looks interesting, and I’m a big fan of WWI flyers being a Capt. Biggles of the RAF kind of guy myself. The scale sort of puts me off, though. Speaking of WWI flying games, I took the opportunity to pick up a box of Wings of War, “Watch Your Back” version. It’s a card based flying game that has models available to use as well. I’ve been looking at it for a long time, and I guess now is the time to get what you can since I’ve heard the Italian company that puts it out is being sold.

Well, that was Fall Recruits 2011. And to the organizers at Lee’s Summit H.S., I swear I’m going to bring you back my badge holder, along with the one from 2010 that I also accidentally walked off with…


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Filed under Event, Hobby, Right Living

Ending the Summer of 2011

Having got into a rhythm of life again after settling down and squaring myself away, I found myself once again at the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Festival, just like last year and the year before that.

Once again the Kansas City Kendo Club was hosted by the Japan-America Society, of which I am involved with both organizations. The 2010 report linked above does a fairly thorough job describing what this event is like, so I won’t repeat any of those details here. I will say again, however, what an awesome festival this is, and I can’t recommend it enough. For the kendo demo we had so many people that we filled the entire length of the stage. All those people also meant that I spent that much more time on my knees (and my very bad knee, which still needs surgery) and the stage they set up at this event is as hard as any I’ve ever knelt on. The pain in my knee, combined with the near full muscle exhaustion in my buttocks from kneeling in a raised position to keep stress off the knee, occupied my mind so much that when it was my turn to stand up and demonstrate a waza I forgot that I hadn’t put my kote on. Drakey sensei had intended us to show how to hit the kote, of course, but he didn’t call attention to my error. Good guy that he is he allowed me to maintain face in front of the audience, and since my partner in this had no armor it worked seamlessly into a demo of how guys without armor can participate in practice. I didn’t even realize it until my second time to get up I almost stepped on the kote, stopping to put them on for a one ippon match against Shane.

So all that went down fairly well. I had somewhere else to be that day, so I didn’t get to stick around and sample all the delicious food that they have there. I also heard the rumor that this would be our last kendo demo at the festival, at leas for a bit. Each country only gets one cultural demonstration, and we’ve been doing this a long while. The Olathe Ki Daiko group, shown here in this video from 2008, often demo at the same Japanese cultural events that KC Kendo does, and are who is rumored to be taking the Japan spot over from us. They are always a popular group with audiences, and I always enjoy watching them myself. If you read this before the 24th of September you should head over to the annual Greater Kansas City Japan Festival at Johnson County Community College and catch one of their concerts or workshops. Or for any of the other good reasons to go to the GKC J-Fest, which are many and varied.

Pictured above is my first practice of the semester with the KU Kendo/Kumdo Club. Though my knee makes it very difficult to practice sometimes, I look forward to another year. Participating in club life at KU has helped make my school experience a great one. Out of the several clubs I was interested in and tried out, the strain on my time has forced me to accept that the kendo club is my only real club. While I look forward to graduating, I know I will miss the KU club (though I could still participate as a guest, and probably will from time to time).

This is my son Donovan, of whom I am very proud. He is a member of the Leavenworth JROTC Pioneer Battalion, and this was taken after the obstacle course event for their Organization Day inter-company competitions, of which I have some pictures on Facebook. That event was really fun, and everyone was exhausted at the end of the day. They started off with a dodge ball competition, and the winners faced the parents and cadre in a fun game that ended in a bench clearing free-for-all game. All the kids were really enthusiastic and everyone looked like they were having a great time. This is the sort of thing that makes all the diapers, thrown food, tantrums, and other frustrating child rearing experiences worth it, this sudden moment when you realize that your little boyo isn’t so little anymore, but has been replaced by a fine young man. Good stuff.

This is Drífa and Tomo, my feline companions. They are all tuckered out from rampaging through the house and wrecking anything not screwed to the wall or hidden behind a closed door. Included here because, hey, I like them.

So that’s a summary of what it’s like to end the Summer and start the Fall around here.

Life is good.


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Filed under Budo, Event, Family, Kendo, Learning, Personal Reflection, Right Living, The Heathen Gods, University of Kansas

KENDO! A demo and a promotion!

15Oct10 I helped to put on a kendo demo at the Overland Park Convention Center. Apparently there is a branch in the Kansas City area for the Japanese corporation IHI. They were having some kind of big dinner party thing and hosting some of their compatriots from the parent company in Japan. Part of the night’s entertainment was displays of Japanese culture, though you’d imagine that since the Japanese were coming to Kansas, and already knew about Japanese culture, that the local company men would have entertained them with displays of American Midwestern culture. I suppose they could have gone upstairs to the tool show for that, but still. Anyway, I was happy to be able to put on a demo, and also to get a chance to see the group from the Olathe South High School Ki Daiko Taiko drummers again. They never disappoint. Oh yeah, after we did our bit we were invited by the nice people from IHI to dine with them and enjoy the performances that followed ours. The food was good, the drumming was good, the sake-in-a-barrel-drank-from-little-wooden-boxes was good. We also mingled with some of the Japanese folk afterward and chatted about kendo and whatnot.

The following morning, 16Oct10, I dragged myself out of bed and got to practice with KC Kendo for once. The big deal about that? I finally was presented with the ikkyu rank certificate I tested for last year!


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Filed under Budo, Event, Kendo

The Toasters & The Checkered Beat at the Jackpot in Lawrence

11Oct10 I went to see the Toasters play a show at the Jackpot Music Hall. They got the local group Checkered Beat to open up for them.

– It’s good to get out every now and again. There’s a host of people I just don’t see anymore, and it seems like some friendships have been “collateral damage” in my effort to reforge myself as a worthwhile member of society. Events like this used to be my excuse to act like an ass, but you can’t blame the ska for that. The ska is unimpeachable, and dressing smart and dancing stupid is still one of my favorite things in the world. But anyway, it was good to see some folks I haven’t talked to in a long while.

I have been curious about Checkered Beat ever since I got back from England. I wanted to check out their August show, but wasn’t able to get out. It’s been since Ruskabank that there’s been a local ska band that I’ve been excited about. The Sex Police out of Kansas City were good, but just never inspired me to dance, and that’s critical. Or maybe I was just much more in love with the brew whenever I saw them, and it’s not their issue but mine. But anyway, I had some reservations when Checkered Beat took the stage. Back in the 90s I think we were all a little burned from the huge cash-in of high school band geeks suddenly discovering a cool genre that they could play, and flooding venues and record stores with really, really third rate music. And cover bands. Cover bands playing “ska’d up version” of other songs sort of became a genre in itself, and one that I don’t mind having died out.

But as Checkered Beat played on they got better and better, and by the time they closed out with a version of “Ghost Town” I was just floored. And I do mean “version”, because all of a sudden, during one of the musical breaks, the lead singer dropped a dancehall style toast, and I decided right then and there that I was a fan.

The Toasters themselves rocked so hard that I was too busy dancing to take a picture. I danced my ass off, and that’s a positive thing indeed. But here is a picture of what remains of the old scene in Lawrence: an old tour sticker that’s survived in that bathroom through probably a dozen different name changes for the bar itself. I really need to go dancing more often. And did I mention that the Toasters rocked so hard I was too busy dancing to take a picture, or anything else? Because the Toasters rocked.


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Filed under Event, Right Living